NHL Rumor Mill – February 16, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – February 16, 2021

More Evgeni Malkin trade speculation, an update on the Penguins’ efforts to reacquire Marc-Andre Fleury, the Leafs could be eyeing a Predators’ forward and the latest on Victor Mete in today’s NHL rumor mill.

MORE ON MALKIN

TRIBLIVE.COM: Tim Benz cited Mark Madden last week claiming he heard Evgeni Malkin would not be traded and an extension with the Pittsburgh Penguins may be looming. Madden has since walked it back a bit, citing a source saying Malkin “is not likely to be traded.” He said team co-owner Mario Lemieux doesn’t want to move the veteran center but “that could be up for review,” adding Sidney Crosby was the only true untouchable on the Penguins.

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (NHL Images).

Benz wondered if the Florida Panthers could be a trade partner as Malkin’s wife and child reside in Miami full time. That could be his preference if the Penguins decide to trade him but Madden is sure Crosby doesn’t want Malkin to be traded. “If you made me bet right now, I would bet Geno finishes his career as a Penguin.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Malkin has a full no-movement clause. If, and that’s still a big “IF” at this point, Penguins GM Ron Hextall and president of hockey ops Brian Burke decide to make that move I suspect they’ll quietly make inquiries with potential trade partners before broaching the subject with Malkin.

They’ll want potential partners lined up that they can take to Malkin and say, “We’re thinking of trading you and here are the teams interested in your services. Choose one.”

DID THE PENGUINS MAKE A PITCH FOR FLEURY?

THE ATHLETIC: Rob Rossi cited NHL insider Bob McKenzie last week saying Patrik Allvin, in his brief tenure as acting Penguins GM before Ron Hextall took over, made an offer to the Vegas Golden Knights for goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury “a couple of weeks ago”. McKenzie also said Allvin’s predecessor, Jim Rutherford, had an interest in reacquiring Fleury, who played for the Penguins until selected by the Golden Knights in the 2017 expansion draft.

Rossi confirmed Rutherford’s interest last summer in Fleury but cited team and league sources denying any communication about the goalie between Allvin and the Golden Knights. A source close to Fleury said the netminder has “shut the door…for now” on playing for Pittsburgh again.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rossi goes on to say any trade while Allvin was acting GM would’ve had to be approved first by team CEO David Moorehouse. A club source said Allvin hadn’t discussed a Fleury trade with Moorehouse and was neither near making or known to be working on a potential trade. Fleury also never came up during Hextall’s interviews with the Penguins before taking over as GM.

It’s clear Fleury’s focus is on helping the Golden Knights, who have no interest in moving him this season. The “Fleury back to Pittsburgh” speculation could ramp up again in the offseason but Hextall could have other plans in mind for the Penguins’ goaltending.

LEAFS EYEING GRANLUND?

THE ATHLETIC: James Mirtle wonders how aggressive Leafs GM Kyle Dubas will be with the Apr. 12 trade deadline just under eight weeks away. He cited Hockey Night in Canada’s Elliotte Friedman’s cryptic comment last week almost guaranteeing the Leafs would add a winger at the trade deadline who could play on the top six with Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner or John Tavares and William Nylander.

Friedman didn’t elaborate but the consensus around the league suggests Nashville Predators winger Mikael Granlund fits the description. He could become available if the Predators continue to struggle. The winger signed a one-year, $3.75 million contract with the Predators. Mirtle indicated the Leafs had an interest in him during the offseason but lacked the cap space to sign him.

Other possible rentals who fit the description include the Buffalo Sabres’ Eric Staal and Los Angeles Kings’ Alex Iafallo. Mirtle doubts the Leafs have the assets or cap space to land Sabres winger Taylor Hall.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s no indication yet if Granlund, Staal or Iafallo could be available at the deadline.

Granlund’s a former two-time 60-point winger whose production has suffered in recent years. He’s got decent numbers with the Preds this season (seven points in 12 games) but only one point in his last five contests.

Staal still has a 10-team no-trade list and we don’t know if the Leafs are on it. Iafallo, 27, had a career-high 43 points with the Kings last season and nine in 13 games this season. He could be available if he seeks more on his next contract than the rebuilding Kings are willing to pay.

CANADIENS GM SHOOTS DOWN METE TRADE RUMORS

TSN: Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin once again stated he has no intention of trading Victor Mete. The defenseman’s agent made a public trade request earlier this season after his client was a healthy scratch through the Habs’ first seven games. “We have no intention of moving Victor and I was clear with the agent on that,” he said.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 11, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 11, 2019

Matt Cullen announced his retirement, the Vancouver Canucks sign Micheal Ferland, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

TRIBLIVE.COM: After 1,516 games and three Stanley Cup championships, center Matt Cullen yesterday announced his retirement. The 42-year-old spent 21 seasons in the NHL with eight teams. He began his career in 1997-98 with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks and moved on to the Florida Panthers, Carolina Hurricanes, New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, and Pittsburgh Penguins. He won his first Cup with the Hurricanes and two with the Penguins. 

Matt Cullen retires after 21 NHL seasons (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Cullen and his family in their future endeavours. He was a well-respected, hardworking checking forward and mentor to his younger teammates as his career progressed.

Cullen sits second to Chris Chelios for most games played by an American-born player. He tallied 266 goals and 731 points, as well as 58 points in 132 playoff contests. Check out the Penguins’ video tribute to Cullen.  

NBC SPORTS: With Cullen’s retirement, Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara becomes the NHL’s oldest active player. Chara turned 42 on March 18 and is 136 days younger than Cullen. 

TSN: The Vancouver Canucks yesterday signed free-agent winger Micheal Ferland to a four-year, $14-million contract. The annual average value is $3.5 milion. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks got Ferland at a bargain. Earlier this year, he was reportedly seeking a contract comparable to Washington’s Tom Wilson. The 27-year-old winger is a feisty forward coming off back-to-back 40-point campaigns.

Ferland’s injury history, however, could be a problem. He struggled to return to form after suffering a concussion early last season. If he can stay reasonably healthy he should be a good addition to the young Canucks.

The Ferland signing leaves the Canucks squeezed for sufficient salary-cap space to re-sign Brock Boeser and Nikolay Goldobin. I’ll have more on that later this morning in the Rumor Mill. 

LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Kings avoided salary arbitration with forward Alex Iafallo, re-signing him to a two-year contract worth over $2.4 million annually. 

THE SCORE: In a recent interview, former Toronto Maple Leafs winger Joffrey Lupul talked injuries, loss of confidence, and stress that brought about the end of his playing career. The Leafs placed Lupul on long-term injury reserve before the 2016-17 season and would later buy out the remainder of his contract. At the time, Lupul claimed he hadn’t failed his physical and accused the Leafs of cheating, though he subsequently retracted those comments and apologized. He now admits his injury woes contributed to the decline of his play, which also affected his confidence. 

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Former Canadiens defenseman and assistant coach J.J. Daigneault is the new head coach of the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads. 

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Ryan Warsofsky was named the new head coach of the Charlotte Checkers, the AHL affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes.